• Thursday, April 25, 2024
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BusinessDay

Firstbank’s New Thematic TVC: ‘Intricately woven into the Fabric of Society’

First bank provided 500,000 jobs in four years – MD

Since 2019 when FirstBank celebrated the 125th anniversary of its origin, everyone has been inundated with the catchphrase ‘intricately woven into the fabric of society’. For those who have wondered what exactly the line means or how it relates to them or, if we may borrow from a popular street parlance, how that affects the price of (a cup of) ‘garri’ in the market, enter Firstbank’s new thematic television commercial (TVC).

The new TVC tells its story using still picture frames that animate and dissolve into a reenactment and dramatisation of the actual event or activity captured in each frame and explained by a charming, young talking head. Heavily- laden with history and meaning and changing ambience to mirror the era and place captured by each picture frame, the TVC places the burden of effectively delivering its brand-/consumer-centric message on the shoulders of the talking head who does a fantastic job with his witty, chatty and passionate style.

Firstbank’s new thematic TVC is one that attempts to hark back to the bank’s origin in 1894 and its continuing legacy of nation building – supporting financial, commercial and other developments in Nigeria and even Africa – while showcasing its modern strides as a contemporary player in Nigeria’s ever-dynamic financial services industry. The TVC is a marriage of the old and the new (consider then Kano’s wealthiest trader’s first deposit of ‘twenty bags of silver arriving on camel back’ as against today’s online banking done conveniently on your mobile device); a celebration of the ancient and the young (the TVC depicts customers of all generations and socio-economic classes); an amalgam of the past and the present (from 1894 when the first branch opened in Lagos to today’s 21st century digital developments prevalent in modern banking).

Read also: FirstBank to engage SMEs, entrepreneurs on ways to rebuild business

It is a convergence of history and the contemporary (for example, Firstbank has been ‘supporting polo for over hundred years and pushing the limits of athletic performance’); a union of tradition and adventure (Firstbank is ‘rooted in tradition but constantly leaning forward into the future’); a potpourri of monochrome images and colourful scenes (observable from the talking head in contemporary time and today’s colours taking the audience to the bank’s past depicted in monochrome); a mixture of simplicity and elegance; a combination of Nigeria and Firstbank (‘two Firstbankers have gone on to become Nigeria’s Central Banker’). Yes, the new TVC is the story of how Firstbank is intertwined with, and woven into, and locked in an inseparable relationship with, Nigeria.

Before there ever was a country, there had been a bank standing together with the various peoples of the different territories that were eventually merged into one country, facilitating trade between them, powering their entrepreneurial and business pursuits, building bridges and cementing the bond of their common humanity. As the country was being put together, that same bank remained committed to the people and the business of helping to grow the people’s businesses. And today, the bank continues to keep faith with Nigeria and Nigerians, showing no signs of losing touch with the people, using size, longevity and unrivalled experience to the best advantage of its customer base in the most nimble and dynamic way. This is the story the TVC portrays.

A classic by all standards, the new TVC makes claims only the very first, and possibly best, bank in Nigeria can make. And as if to confirm the veracity of those claims, Firstbank, this month, became the first Nigerian company to make the cut and be featured in CNN’S The100 Club, a monthly TV documentary show on the world’s leading cable news network that features brands that have been around for at least 100 years. It underscored Firstbank’s place as an iconic Nigerian and African brand taking great strides on the global stage, having remained at the forefront of African companies built on the principles of sustainability, which include good corporate governance, consistent positive nation- building impact and continuous steady growth ‘intricately woven into the fabric of society’.

This is the kind of recognition and representation that Nigerians and, indeed, all Africans have longed for on the global stage, and one that excites Folake Ani- Mumuney, who heads the bank’s Marketing and Corporate Communications department. She notes that the bank was ‘[p]articularly pleased to be recognised by Cnn…[being a] well-run institution guided by the founding principles as found in the first recorded meeting of the Board of Directors on 4th May 1894… [which records that] “Directors agree that as cautious men they wanted safe and sound progress rather than brilliant successes”.’ ‘Perhaps,’ she remarks of this particular record, ‘a quote that speaks to what it takes to sustain an institution over the years in this challenging environment and remain relevant and at the forefront…true to its name and indeed aptly visually represented by the iconic elephant as its logo.’

Closing with a remix of the famous soundtrack ‘Firstbank oh, una well done oh/firstbank oh, una do well’ oh‘, used in one of the bank’s most popular jingles in the 1990s, playing in the background, the new TVC is the ultimate depiction of what it means for a financial services player to be ‘intricately woven into the fabric of society.’ This society’s founding the bank both witnessed and contributed towards, and the bank continues to lead efforts in driving commercial activities among the people in the society and in empowering their businesses within and outside the country’s borders. Right there – yes, reading between the lines (‘…driving commercial activities…and empowering… businesses…’) – is the incredibly important role the bank plays in enabling Nigeria’s cassava farmers and garri producers as well as producers and sellers of other foodstuff and non-food items flood our markets with goods and have us spoilt for choice. Anyone still wondering how ‘intricately woven into the fabric of society’ affects the price of garri in the market?

Firstbank’s new thematic TVC is one that attempts to hark back to the bank’s origin in 1894 and its continuing legacy of nation building – supporting financial, commercial and other developments in Nigeria and even Africa – while showcasing its modern strides as a contemporary player in Nigeria’s ever-dynamic financial services industry